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The 2011 Masters Tournament purse has been split up among the 49 players who made the tournament's cut. Charl Schwartzel's win entitles him to a $1.44 million slice of the total $8 million payout. That's the largest amout of money the event has ever paid out, with the purse rising $500,000 since last year. Last year Phil Mickelson scored $1.35 million.
For tying in second, countrymen Jason Day and Adam Scott will each receive the average of the second and third place prizes, which comes out to $704,000 each. Likewise, Tiger Woods, Geoff Ogilvy, and Luke Donald each receive payouts of $330,667, with Angel Cabrera, K.J. Choi, Bo Van Pelt, and Ryan Palmer all making more than $200,000 each.
Georgia's Matt Kuchar and Bubba Watson take home $54,400 and $36,800 respectively. Hideki Matsuyama, the event's best-scoring amateur, receives no cash prize as he's ... an amateur. The Masters makes a point of reserving placement for top-ranked amateurs, a tribute to co-founder Bobby Jones' standing as the greatest amateur ever.
2011 Masters Tournament winner Charl Schwartzel became the latest to be presented with golf's most-treasured prize that isn't tons of money: the green jacket. After accepting the honor inside Butler Cabin from previous winner Phil Mickelson and Augusta National Golf Club chairman Billy Payne, the party traveled outside to do the whole thing all over:
In case you can't see the video: Mickelson placed the jacket on the South African champ's shoulders, everybody clapped, and Payne handed Schwartzel a microphone. He expressed gratitude to Payne and touted the quality of Augusta's course before thanking his parents, wife, and caddy, the Augusta crowd, his sponsors, and so forth.
Kinda hard to make out all of what he said, as his speaking voice kind of reminds me of Ricky Bobby at the beginning of Talladega Nights as far as volume goes. Definitely don't think he has any reason to care what I think about his speaking voice.
South Africa's Charl Schwartzel wound up atop the 2011 Masters Tournament leaderboard after a chaotic final round that saw Rory McIlroy plummet to a 7-over Sunday score, Tiger Woods make a charge, and as many as six players with a chance to win heading into the closing holes.
Schwartzel landed on the green with two strokes left, needing only par to assure himself of the green jacket, but was able to punch in a birdie from a considerable distance. He finished two swings ahead of Australians Jason Day and Adam Scott, with Scott appearing to be in the driver's seat heading into the final two holes.
Before Sunday, Schwartzel's best Masters finish was a 30th-place tie. He's been a pro since 2002, boasting seven professional wins. His best result in any PGA major was a 14th-place finish in the 2010 U.S. Open.
Australian Adam Scott has placed his 2011 Masters Tournament chances in the hands of South African Charl Schwartzel, missing a long putt to wind up 12-under and just shy of the top of the leaderboard. Schwartzel needs only to make par on his final hole to earn the event victory.
On hole No. 17, Schwartzel drilled a long putt to give himself a birdie and the lead at 13-under. He's been among the most consistent players all week, and like Scott has had a very solid Sunday. He has one hole left to make his case for the green jacket.
Jason Day also shot 3-under today to wind up 12-under, setting up his final putt with his countryman Scott watching on the green after the two shared a high five. Geoff Ogilvy and Luke Donald are also done and tied with Tiger Woods at 10-under, with K.J. Choi at 10-under with a pair of holes left.
Long-putting Australian Adam Scott is now 12-under with two holes to go, and may have just ruined the day of all those hoping for a playoff. However, with as many as a half-dozen players within a stroke of the lead in recent moments, it may be for the best if we have a regulation winner.
Geoff Ogilvy, Jason Day, K.J. Choi, and Carl Schwartzel are tied with Woods at 10-under, with Luke Donald close behind. Angel Cabrera and Bo Van Pelt sit at 8-under but would be looking much better if not for some challenging putts.
Tiger Woods had a chance to sink an eagle that would've given him the 2011 Masters Tournament lead free and clear, but he'll have to settle for a tie at 10-under with Adam Scott, Charl Schwartzel, and Angel Cabrera. The leaderboard's biggest recent adjustment, however, was Rory McIlroy's triple bogey on hole No. 10, which saw the tourney's leader in all three opening rounds veer far left into a yard, far right into a tree, and everywhere in between.
Woods has three holes remaining, having just blasted his drive onto the hole No. 16 green and nearly scoring an ace. He has a chance for a birdie that could give him the lead.
Despite starting the day in great position to make a run at a top-five 2011 Masters Tournament finish, Bubba Watson struggled mightily on his Sunday front nine. With bogeys on holes No. 3, 4, and 7 preceding a double bogey on hole No. 8, Watson has fallen from the top 10 to a tie for 38th place, his score moving to 6-over already.
Watson has seven holes remaining, and it looks like his round three 67 is going to go down as the score of the week for any local player.
Matt Kuchar has also had a disappointing round, though not quite as upsetting as Watson's. He's dipped from No. 14 to No. 24 after shooting 2-over on the round with three bogeys. With just six holes left, he's the best hope left for a Peach State golfer to finish within a yelp of the top 10, but it's going to take a late-round turnaround.
Tiger Woods had scored even par through two holes of his back nine, and now sits two strokes behind Rory McIlroy on the 2011 Masters Tournament leaderboard after shooting for bogey on hole No. 12. Woods missed what should've been an easy putt for him, and the youngster holds the 11-under lead.
Charl Schwartzel is also in contention, just ahead of Tiger at 10-under, but nobody feels like talking about him, I guess. McIlroy broke a cold spell with a birdie on hole No. 7 to retake the lead. Woods has six holes left, while McIlroy and Schwartzel still have 11 to go. He's been hot on hole No. 13 all week, so this hole could be very critical.
Adam Scott, K.J. Choi, and Angel Cabrera are bunched at 9-under, with Scott the only one headed in the right direction on the day overall. Luke Donald and Jason Day are tied at 8-under. Then we have Ross Fisher and Bo Van Pelt at 6-under.
For lack of a better way to say this, Tiger Woods is back. At least for one half of one round in one tournament, but it's Sunday in Augusta. The 2011 Masters Tournament leaderboard opened the day with Rory McIlroy looking back from four strokes up and Tiger a near-afterthought compared to Jason Day, Angel Cabrera, and the others at 8-under.
Woods has shot four birdies and an eagle, ending his front nine with a par-saving putt after getting caught deep in the trees and pine straw to remain 5-under on the round. A moment before, McIlroy flubbed his third putt of the day to fall to 10-under.
Charl Schwarzel's rally has slowed slightly, as the South African shot for bogey on hole No. 4 and putted to save par on hole No. 5. Luke Donald, K.J. Choi, Day, and Cabrera remain in the mix -- each remains at 8-under. Bubba Watson's final round has been a struggle, as he's shot 2-over on the day.
Rory McIlroy opened the final round atop the 2011 Masters Tournament leaderboard, with his four-stroke edge looking mighty comfortable considering his steady play throughout the event. But Charl Schwartzel! The South African player started his Sunday with a terrific birdie putt, chasing it with an amazing eagle on hole No. 3. It gets my vote for shot of the week, but my associates disagree. And with that, Schwartzel went 11-under to tie for the lead.
McIlroy, meanwhile, saved par on hole No. 2 after suffering a bogey on hole No. 1 due to an errant putt. He needed a great putt to make up for bunker trouble on hole No. 2 after his escape shot thudded into the bunker itself instead of skipping onto the green. Still, he's tied for the lead in the Masters with a chance to hang on for the victory.
Tiger Woods, Adam Scott, and Luke Donald have joined the mass at 8-under, with Tiger 3-under on the day. We're in for an exciting finish, folks.
Rory McIlroy and the 2011 Masters Tournament leaderboard's other top players are scheduled to begin shortly, with McIlroy taking his first tee in a black-and-gray polo and black cap. Red-polo'd Tiger Woods (7-under) has made his way through four holes so far, scoring two birdies before missing a very long putt and middling putt to suffer a bogey.
Former champ Trevor Immelman and Ryan Moore are making minor moves, with each having gone 2-under through 12 holes to approach the top 15.
Bubba Watson scored par on his first hole to remain 5-under and in a tie for 10th place. Momentum from Matt Kuchar's solid Saturday hasn't carried over to Sunday so far, with the Georgia Tech star having gone 2-over in his first two holes to fall to 2-under.
Ryan Palmer is enduring a challenging final round, shooting a pair of double bogeys in his first four holes to wind up on the wrong side of par for the event.
The Masters and Augusta National mean more than just a golf tournament for some, especially those living around it year round.
After two rounds in the 60s, Rory McIlroy failed to break 70 for the first time in the 2011 Masters. However, those near McIlroy at the start of Saturday failed to make a move, giving him a four-shot lead entering the final day.
1. Rory McIlroy: -12
2. Angel Cabrera: -8
2. Charl Schwartzel: -8
2. K.J. Choi: -8
2. Jason Day: -8
6. Adam Scott: -7
6. Luke Donald: -7
8. Bo Van Pelt: -6
McIlroy bogied two holes on Saturday for the first time this week, making fives on 5 and 10. But McIlroy birded three of the final six holes to solidify his spot atop the leaderboard heading into Sunday. The big shot came on 17 when he drained a long birdie putt to go four up on four golfers. The roar from the putt caused Tiger Woods to back off his shot on the 18th fairway.
The two notable surges from Saturday were Cabrera and Watson. Cabrera's 67 is big because it means having a former Masters champion in the final pairing with McIlroy instead of the fellow youngsters McIlroy has played with all week. It's another name for him to consider behind him.
Schwartzel continues to remain in the hunt with a 68 on Saturday. His name is not mentioned often, but he is capable of being the dark horse on Sunday after three very steady rounds.
The likes of Tiger Woods, Geoff Ogilvy and Fred Couples gave way to Watson, Scott, Donald and Van Pelt. They aren't the big names of the previous group, but all of them are coming off their best rounds or second best rounds and have momentum. All are capable of making a run.
Tiger shot a 74 Saturday to fall to 5-under, seemingly knocking himself out of the opening contention on Sunday. He will need to match his best round of the week at worst to have a chance, which was a 66.
1:30 - Matt Kuchar, Ryan Palmer
1:40 - Tiger Woods, Martin Laird
1:50 - Fred Couples, Geoff Ogilvy
2:00 - Bubba Watson, Ross Fisher
2:10 - Luke Donald, Bo Van Pelt
2:20 - Jason Day, Adam Scott
2:30 - Charl Schwartzel, K.J. Choi
2:40 - Rory McIlroy, Angel Cabrera
7-9 a.m. - Morning Drive (Golf Channel)
11 a.m.-2 p.m. - Live From The Masters (Golf Channel)
2-7 p.m. - The Masters on CBS
7-9 p.m. - Live From The Masters (Golf Channel)
Online streaming found at Masters.com.
The University of Georgia's Bubba Watson, who was in danger of missing the 2011 Masters Tournament cut on Friday, could finish the day in the leaderboard's top 10. After scoring a 67 by shooting seven birdies, he's now 5-under for the event, tying him for 13th place.
His third round results still might not be the most impressive with Adam Scott also 5-under on the day with four holes left. Scott just shot an eagle on hole No. 13, moving him into a third-place tie at 7-under.
Partners Jason Day and Rory McIlroy continue to spar for the lead, with Day now sitting at 11-under and McIlroy at 10-under. Day has scored three birdies in their first five holes, while McIlroy is even on the day.
Matt Kuchar looked ready to join Watson on the outskirts of the top 10, having shot 4-under at one point, but going 3-under to break the top 20 is no disappointment. And momentum from Tiger Woods' roaring Friday hasn't continued, with Woods 1-over for the round and 6-under overall.
The third round of the 2011 Masters Tournament gets a later start than the previous two, with only minor leaderboard adjustments having been made thus far. Aaron Baddeley has done the most to improve his standing, shooting three birdies in his first six holes to score a 2-under after starting 1-over.
Bubba Watson started his third day off right with a par and a birdie, moving his score to 1-under for the tournament. Six active players besides Baddeley are also 1-under so far Saturday, with Martin Laird reaching 2-under and Hideki Matsuyama drawing even par.
Matt Kuchar and Ernie Els are among those 1-over, with Kuchar slipping to even par with a bogey on his first hole after being ranked in the top five players early in the first round.
Business will pick up shortly, with defending champ Phil Mickelson scheduled to tee off at 12:45.
The cut line at the 2011 Masters Tournament, 1-over, saw 49 of 99 players make it through to the third round at Augusta National. Kyung-Tae Kim, Hideki Matsuyama, Steve Marino, Jeff Overton, Camilo Villegas, Aaron Baddelay, Lucas Glover, and Ernie Els just made the cut, with Els and Baddelay making it in thanks to strong 2-under second rounds, while Kim and Villegas barely held on after putting together 3-over Fridays.
Martin Kaymer is the biggest name to fail to make the cut, as the world No. 1 shot even par after a disastrous first round to finish 6-under. Stewart Cink and Larry Mize are your local golfers who are now out, with Cink winding up just a single stroke short and Mize unable to string together birdies as he was on Thursday.
Bubba Watson is in, having shot 1-under Friday to reach even par. If not for an eagle on hole No. 15, he'd likely be out as well. Matt Kuchar slipped after a solid Thursday, but is still 1-under overall.
Lucas Glover, Zach Johnson, Anthony Kim, Sean O'Hair, Tim Clark, Hunter Mahan, Robert Allenby, and Francesco Molinari joined Cink in coming up one score shy.
As was the case in round one of the 2011 Masters, the younger players took charge in round two and have set themselves up well for the weekend. However, one name looms large just off the pace.
As the leaderboard shows, a couple of young guns hold the top spots, but a certain name isn't far behind:
1. Rory McIlroy: -10
2. Jason Day: -8
3. K.J. Choi: -7
3. Tiger Woods: -7
5. Geoff Ogilvy: -6
5. Alvaro Quiros: -6
The 21-year-old McIlroy and 23-year-old Day hold advantage over veterans Choi, Woods and Ogilvy. McIlroy carded a 3-under 69 on Friday, working with four birdies and a bogey on 12. Despite 69 being a solid score, it seemed to be a conservative round for McIlroy, who backed off a bit from his first-round 65. His strength will be tested as he holds a two-stroke lead entering the weekend, but he went a long toward proving that very thing with a strong hold of his lead in round two.
Day came out of nowhere with the low round of the day Friday, recording a 64. After a 33 on the front nine, he posted five birdies on the back for a 31. Day has a long way to go to prove Friday wasn't a fluke, but a strong Saturday that keeps him near the top would be a good start.
Tiger's 66 on Friday vaulted him to a tie for third place. Despite three bogies on the front nine, Tiger posted a 35 at the turn. He followed that with a 31 on the back, including three straight birdies on 13, 14, and 15, and finishing with a birdie on 18. Tiger is always someone to keep an eye on, but after a must-have 66 on Friday, it seems the ability to go low when he needs it the most is back, at least for this week. If anything can shake the youngsters at the top, it's Tiger's presence.
As I've mentioned at least 50 times since the beginning of the week, don't write off Ogilvy or Lee Westwood. Both know how to get it done in big tournaments, and both have been in Masters contention late. Ogilvy is within striking distance at 6-under, and Westwood is lurking at 5-under.
Notables off the pace but still have a shot with a low round Saturday include Jim Furyk at 4-under, Angel Cabrera at 3-under, Phil Mickelson at 2-under and Trevor Immelman at 2-under. Players around these scores will need mid-60s at the most on Saturday.
Notable pairings for round three on Saturday:
12:55: Phil Mickelson, Gary Woodland
1:55: Lee Westwood, Charl Schwartzel
2:05: Fred Couples, Rickie Fowler
2:25: Geoff Ogilvy, Alvaro Quiros
2:35: Tiger Woods, K.J. Choi
2:45: Rory McIlroy, Jason Day
7-9 a.m. - Morning Drive (Golf Channel)
12:30-3:30 p.m. - Live From The Masters (Golf Channel)
3:30-7:00 p.m. - The Masters on CBS
7-9 p.m. - Live From The Masters (Golf Channel)
It took Tiger Woods a round and a half to make his 2011 Masters Tournament leaderboard move, but the tourney's current front-runners had better take a look over their shoulders. After starting the day with bogeys on two of his first three holes, Woods put together a streak of birdies on holes No. 8 through 10, followed by another string from hole No. 13 to hole No. 15. With two holes left in the round, he's now 6-under on the day, tying him for fourth place overall.
He had a chance at eagle on No. 15, too, with his shot from just off the green narrowly missing the cup, and barely missed a birdie putt on hole No. 16. And this round featured a pair of bogeys, meaning it could've been a whole lot worse for anyone dreading a rush by the record-holder.
Woods drew applause from the crowds as he approached the green on each of his last three or four holes. Tiger's partner Robert Allenby (1-over) should make the cut, while Graeme McDowell (2-over) needs a birdie to make the cut.
The Masters Tournament young guns group of Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, and Rickie Fowler has dominated the tourney leaderboard through Friday, with Day (8-under) shooting a scalding 64 in the second round to pull into free-and-clear second place. Rory McIlroy (10-under) remains the leader, going 3-under on the day despite finally suffering his first bogey. Fowler (5-under) is no slouch either, tying for sixth place.
The cut line comes into play, with world No. 1 Martin Kaymer (6-over), Stewart Cink and Zach Johnson (2-over), and one-time 2011 Masters leader Retief Goosen (5-over) among those who won't be competing tomorrow.
Tiger Woods is making his move, scoring three straight birdies in the middle of his round to move to 3-under with six holes remaining. Phil Mickelson just keeps lingering, hanging at 2-under again.
Matt Kuchar is tumbling after a double bogey and various other mis-steps, landing at 1-under with five holes left in his day. Bubba Watson (1-under) earned a piece of crystal for his eagle on hole No. 15, which also helped eliminate any cut-line concerns.
Y.E. Yang's (5-under) early Thursday hot streak has cooled, while Alvaro Quiros (5-under) has fallen all the way to a fourth-place tie after opening the second round of the 2011 Masters Tournament atop the leaderboard. Rory McIlroy (9-under), after briefly giving the lead up to Yang and K.J. Choi, has shot 2-under today to reclaim sole possession of the top spot. Through seven holes in round two, McIlroy still has yet to score over par on any hole in the tourney.
A handful of players on the rise today, having shot 4-under so far this round: Fred Couples (5-under), plus Luke Donald and Jim Furyk (4-under each). Geoff Ogilvy (6-under) has gone 3-under this round, good for third place.
Tiger Woods might be undergoing a mini-collapse, having bogeyed two of his first three holes to wind up 1-over for the tourney. Phil Mickelson (2-under) is even through 15 holes.
Matt Kuchar (4-under) is also even, hanging on to a ninth-place tie. Bubba Watson has shot 1-under with one hole left, fighting his way back to even par, while Stewart Cink (3-over) may have stopped the bleeding with three birdies in his last four holes. Larry Mize (3-over), who constructed yesterday's finest scorecard with four-hole streaks each of under- and over-par performances, is 2-over on the day.
Ricky Barnes was in the 7-under club until he shot a bogey on hole No. 8, and Alvaro Quiros has also slipped to a second-place tie, with a bogey on his opening second-round hole. Still, the 2011 Masters Tournament leaderboard is getting crowded at the top, with K.J. Choi and Y.E. Yang joining Rory McIlroy in first place at 7-under. McIlroy is schedulded to tee off at 12:42 pm ET.
Yang is through nine holes, with Choi through five. The former has shot four birdies and two bogeys on the day already, while Choi has yet to shoot over par this round.
Phil Mickelson (2-under) has just gotten started, shooting even par through four holes. Tiger Woods (1-under) is set to tee off at 1:48 pm ET.
Stewart Cink (3-over) is chasing a rocky round one with a downright miserable second, having bogeyed four of his first six holes. Bubba Watson (3-over) hasn't fared much better, shooting a double bogey on hole No. 2. Matt Kuchar (4-under) looks to be the only hope for a Peach State victory. He'll tee off today about 20 minutes before Tiger.
With one round in the books, The Masters is proving to be a low-scoring affair among the younger players in the game. Many had the prediction of the younger generation making their mark in this year's tournament, and so far that prediction is on track.
As the leaderboard shows, several young players are the top of the board through one round:
1. Rory McIlroy: -7, 65
1. Alvaro Quiros: -7, 65
3. Y.E. Yang: -5, 67
3. K.J. Choi: -5, 67
5. Matt Kuchar: -4, 68
5. Ricky Barnes: -4, 68
7. Ross Fisher: -3, 69
7. Brandt Snedeker: -3, 69
7. Sergio Garcia, -3, 69
7. Charl Schwartzel: -3, 69
7. Trevor Immelman: -3, 69
7. Geoff Ogilvy: -3, 69
7. Gary Woodland: -3, 69
The 21-year-old McIlroy came out with a 32 on the front nine Thursday, including three straight birdies on two, three and four. A 33 on the back nine, including a birdie on 11, resulted in a 65 that led the field for almost the entire day.
The 27-year-old Quiros matched McIlroy with a late surge on the back nine. After shooting a 33 on the front nine, including birdies of seven and eight, Quiros birdied five holes on the back around a bogey of 14. Two straight birdies on 17 and 18 ended his day at -7, tied for first. Quiros' style plays well in Augusta due to his long drives, which averaged 310 yards in the first round, good for first in the field.
Georgia Tech product Matt Kuchar is in good position at -4. The logjam at -3 includes former Masters champion Trevor Immelman, as well as dark horse candidate Geoff Ogilvy.
Those a few shots further back that should be watched in the second round include Rickie Fowler at -2, Phil Mickelson at -2, Paul Casey at -2, Tiger Woods at -1 and Lee Westwood at even-par.
Round two pairings and notables:
10:30 a.m. - Phil Mickelson, Geoff Ogilvy, Peter Uihlein
10:41 a.m. - Jhonny Vegas, Gary Woodland, Alvaro Quiros
12:42 p.m. - Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day
1:26 p.m. - Martin Kaymer, Lee Westwood, Matt Kuchar
1:48 p.m. - Tiger Woods, Graeme McDowell, Robert Allenby
6-8 a.m. - Morning Drive (Golf Channel)
8 a.m.-3 p.m. - Live From The Masters (Golf Channel)
3-7:30 p.m. - The Masters on ESPN
8-11 p.m. - The Masters on ESPN (Replay)
Live streaming is found at Masters.com.
Rory McIlroy's 2011 Masters Tournament score looked set to dominate the leaderboard for the rest of the first round, but Alvaro Quiros overcame a bogey on hole No. 14 to also finish 7-under. Y.E. Yang and K.J. Choi are close behind at 5-under, with Matt Kuchar and Ricky Barnes tied at 4-under.
Tiger Woods scored just 1-under after shooting back-to-back bogeys during the middle of his round, putting him one off reigning champ Phil Mickelson's pace.
Local player Stewart Cink tied Woods, alternating birdies and bogeys for nearly his entire round. Bubba Watson, a hot pick to win it all, had a rough day, double-bogeying hole No. 12 and ending up 1-over. Augusta's Larry Mize may have produced one of the streakiest rounds in the course's recent history, bogeying four straight holes before shooting birdies on four straight. He also finished 1-over.
Here's how great Rory McIlroy's opening round at the 2011 Masters Tournament was: Matt Kuchar finished in the leaderboard's second place on the day at 4-under. Had Kuchar not shot a pair of bogeys, he still would've finished behind McIlroy on the day. That's pretty good golf for a Thursday, y'all.
McIlroy shot for birdie on seven different holes and par on all others, giving himself a nice head start for round two. Kuchar bogeyed holes No. 9 and 16, but still turned in a very respectable opener.
Tiger Woods looks like he'll finish his first round in the neighborhood of 1-under -- he has one hole left to shoot. Phil Mickelson is shooting par through six holes. Bubba Watson is off to a shaky start, having gone over par on holes No. 2 and 7.
Others in the upper ranks who've completed their day-one activity: Ross Fisher and Brandt Snedeker (3-under) and a host of six players at 2-under that includes Retief Goosen, who started the day keeping pace with McIlroy.
Rory McIlroy has taken the early top leaderboard spot in the first round of the 2011 Masters Tournament, shooting 5-under through hole No. 13. The Northern Irish player jumped to a hot start with birdies on holes No. 2, 3, and 4, later adding 9 and 11 with nary a bogey so far. He's followed by Retief Goosen and Charl Schwartzel, both at 4-under.
World No. 1 Martin Kaymer is having a rough Thursday, shooting 4-over par through 14 holes. Kaymer shot bogeys on holes No. 2, 4, and 7, and committed the dreaded double bogey on hole No. 10. Tiger Woods is hanging in there, tied at 14th by shooting 1-under through nine holes, with Phil Mickelson set to start within the next three groups.
Matt Kuchar leads all locals, shooting 3-under through hole No. 11, good for a fourth-place tie. Bubba Watson has yet to make his move, shooting even par through just one hole. Stewart Cink is set to tee off momentarily.
Ian Poulter likes to answer questions. When asked about Tiger Woods' chances in the 2011 Masters Tournament, he didn't offer a boring-athlete answer, but instead chose to criticize Woods' shooting as of late and the higher standard posed by the course at Augusta National:
I don't think he'll finish in the top five. The shots he was hitting at Doral, they were very inconsistent. You can't afford to hit shots like that on this course and get away with it.
The quote made its way to Woods, who dismissed it at his press conference:
Poulter is always right, isn't he? My whole idea is to try to win the tournament. That's what I'm trying to do.
And back to Poulter, who countered on Twitter that he'd made the opposite observation about Woods the year prior and nobody cared:
I was asked last year if tiger would finish top 5 I said yes. I was asked this year I said I don't think so. Now I'm an ass, quallity press. You can't win with the press, you answer a question honestly, now I'm the one who looks a prick. The press can do that to you. Thanks boys. Note to self when asked about Tiger always bullshit & say what they want to hear, or you will be ridiculed. Noted not answering anymore.
You just can't win sometimes. Poulter is set to tee off Thursday at 11:47 am ET, following Woods' 10:41 at start.
The 2011 Masters Tournament at Augusta National begins Thursday morning. The course's gates are scheduled to open at 7 am ET, with first tee time set for 7:45 am. ESPN will handle rounds one and two, with CBS taking over on Saturday and Sunday.
From the first round through the final round, live video of Amen Corner, holes No. 15 and 16, and the two most noteworthy active groups will be streaming online at Masters.com pretty much all day -- check the website's broadcast schedule for exact times on those items and all the site's other video offerings.
ESPN and CBS schedule for the Masters:
Round one, Thursday, April 7 (online video begins 10:45 am):
Live: 3 pm to 7:30 pm, ESPN (Mike Tirico, Curtis Strange)
Highlights: 11:30 pm, CBS
Replay: 8 pm to 11 pm, ESPN
Round two, Friday, April 8 (online video begins 10:45 am):
Live: 3 pm to 7:30 pm, ESPN (Mike Tirico, Curtis Strange)
Highlights: 11:30 pm, CBS
Replay: 8 pm to 11 pm, ESPN
Round three, Saturday, April 9 (online video begins 11:45 am):
Live: 3:30 pm to 7 pm, CBS (Jim Nantz, Nick Faldo, Peter Oosterhuis, Verne Lundquist, David Feherty, Bill Macatee, Peter Kostis, Ian Baker-Finch)
Final round, Sunday, April 10 (online video begins 11:45 am):
Live: 2 pm to 7 pm, CBS (Jim Nantz, Nick Faldo, Peter Oosterhuis, Verne Lundquist, David Feherty, Bill Macatee, Peter Kostis, Ian Baker-Finch)
If you're looking for Masters predictions (you probably are!), Rob Hodgetts has collected a great haul of expert picks right here. Phil Mickelson of course gets more picks than any other tournament golfer, but Par 3 Contest winner Luke Donald is a hot pick in his own right. Those predictions were made before he won the Par 3, of course, so ignore the Donald picks if you're into Augusta National curse lore.
Georgia's Bubba Watson has earned the confidence of Golf Digest's Max Adler, Daily Mail's Derek Lawrenson, and the Daily Telegraph's Kevin Farside. Paul Casey, Justin Rose, Nick Watney, and Lee Westwood are also picked to win by one expert or another in that Hodgetts list.
No Tiger Woods? Golf.com's Cameron Morfit cautions anyone who'd dare presume Woods can't win the tournament. We can probably include Ian Poulter in Woods' league of doubters.
Too much Mickelson? The Guardian's Lawrence Donegan thinks a win by Rory McIlroy would be better for the sport than another Mickelson green jacket, and the Huntsville Times' Bill Bryant favors Nick Watney and Anthony Kim if the two biggest names are off the table.
All told, the defending champ is the clear fave according to both Vegas and the analysts, with Watson becoming something of a trendy pick as the week goes on.
Georgia's Augusta National Golf Club is set to enjoy a decent weekend of Masters Tournament weather for the most part. For Thursday's first round, temperatures are forecasted to rise to 79 degrees Fahrenheit with clear skies and a 0 percent chance of rain. Doesn't get any better than that, unless you need an excuse for a terrible round by a player you have money on.
Friday's second round won't be quite as perfect, with a high of 83, a little bit of cloud cover, and an 18 percent chance of precipitation. Saturday could be unpleasant -- there's a 20 percent chance of an afternoon thunderstorm and a high of 85. The final round on Sunday remains just as warm, but should be drier.
Thursday's sunrise is scheduled for 7:09 am, just after gates open -- that's pretty much the same for all four days, so I'll just type it once if that's ok with you. Not much wind is expected during any of the tourney's four days, with winds reaching seven miles per hour at points on Friday.
Georgia's spring football game was moved back one Saturday from its usual date this year so that it wouldn't conflict with the Masters, so it's safe to say the golf tournament holds a pretty important spot in the psyche of your average UGA alum. It's also safe to say that a lot of them will be rooting for Bubba Watson, who helped lead the Bulldogs to an SEC golf championship in 2000.
A native of Bagdad, Florida, Watson earned junior college All-American honors on the golf team at Faulkner State Community College in Alabama before transferring to UGA in 2000. He earned his first win in 2008 in the CVS Caremark Charity Classic and has been on fire over the past year, winning the Travelers Championship last June in a playoff over Corey Pavin and Scott Verplank. He wasn't quite as lucky two months later in the PGA Championship -- he made it to a three-hole playoff but lost by one stroke to Germany's Martin Kaymer -- but bounced back to beat Phil Mickelson by a stroke for a win in the Farmers Insurance Open in January.
Watson has made two prior appearances in the Masters, with the better of the two being a tie for 20th in 2008. You can't call him a favorite in 2011 -- so far he seems to be earning more ink for his decision to wear all white for the tournament than for his chances to take home the green jacket -- though his monster drive did earn him a spot on al.com's list of tournament dark horses. He'll be a sentimental favorite for golf fans beyond just those of the Bulldog persuasion, too, after losing his father to throat cancer last fall.
Watson has been grouped with Englishman Paul Casey and Italian Edoardo Molinari for Round 1. They'll be one of the last groups to take to the links, teeing off at 1:15 p.m. Thursday.
Count Luke Donald out of the 2011 Masters Tournament, as his Par 3 Contest victory assures he'll miss out on getting a win in the tournament itself, which begins Thursday morning. The English player shot 5-under, one of the better scores in contest history. Raymond Floyd and Angel Cabrera finished close behind, shooting 4-under each.
Georgia Tech's Stewart Cink nearly recorded one of only two holes-in-one for the day, with his shot rimming out of the welcoming hole No. 9. He celebrated with his caddies, thinking the ball had successfully crossed the water and found the hole. Craig Stadler scored the day's only ace, the 73rd in contest history.
Cink finished 3-under. Among other players with Peach State ties, Bubba Watson shot 1-under, Matt Kuchar scored 3-over, and veteran Larry Mize went 4-over. For complete scores from the contest, visit the tournament's official website.
The second former Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket to compete in the 2011 Masters is Matt Kuchar, ranked No. 10 in the world. The 32 year old Winter Park, Florida native will be playing at Augusta for only the fifth time in his career, and will attempt to best last year's 25th place finish.
After twice being named an All-American at Georgia Tech, Kuchar won the U.S. Amateur in 1997 before turning pro in 2000. He teed off at the Masters for the first time in 1998 when he finished tied for 21st, good for the low amateur score. He also got low amateur in the same year at the U.S. Open. Kuchar finished tied for 50th at the 1999 Masters, and missed the cut in 2002. Last year, he tied for 25th place.
Kuchar has four career wins, three of which came on the PGA Tour and the other on the Nationwide Tour. His best season came in 2010 when he was named to the US Ryder Cup team, was the PGA Tour leading money winner, and won the Vardon Trophy for lowest scoring average on the tour. He beat out Martin Laird in a playoff to win the Barclays, a FedEx Cup playoff event in August.
Scheduled to tee off at 10:19 on Thursday, No. 10 Kuchar is featured in one of the marquee threesomes with world No. 1 Martin Kaymer and No. 2 Lee Westwood.
Bodog.com lists Kuchar at 28/1 odds to put the green jacket on come Sunday.
The 2011 Masters Tournament's Par 3 Contest heralds the eve of the main event's first round. Since 1960, the short course has traditionally been played through on the Wednesday before the actual tournament. It's a casual competition, with many golfers opting to use their kids as caddies. Not every Masters golfer participates, and not every Par 3 golfer will contend in the tourney itself. You just kind of roll with it. It's like the slam dunk contest?
TV schedule, start time: The Par 3 Contest begins at 12:30 pm ET, with live streaming online at Masters.com and ESPN3 plus ESPN's broadcast set to begin at 3 pm ET. Listed the online ones first because you'll be at work at the time. Looking out for you.
Course history: Augusta National Golf Club's Par 3 Course features nine holes. The course par is ... 27! The course was designed in 1958, highlighted by Ike's Pond and DeSoto Springs Pond. Art Wall and Gay Brewer hold the course record: 7-under.
Last year: Louis Oosthuizen won by shooting 6 under, becoming the third-straight South African to take the event. He also fell prey to the legendary Par 3 curse -- no Par 3 winner has ever won the green jacket in the same year.
Pairings and tee times have been announced for Thursday's opening round of the 2011 Masters Tournament at Augusta National. The 33 groups of three golfers each includes a 10:41 start for Tiger Woods (paired with Graeme McDowell and Robert Allenby), a late 1:48 start for favorite Phil Mickelson (along with Geoff Ogilvy and Uihlein), and a stacked 10:19 group that includes world No. 1 Martin Kaymer, world No. 2 Lee Westwood (a popular pick to win the green jacket), and Georgia Tech alum Matt Kuchar.
Bubba Watson is scheduled to tee off at 1:15 with Paul Casey and Edoardo Molinari, and Stewart Cink headlines the following 1:26 group that includes Jim Furyk and Yuta Ikeda.
Jonathan Byrd, Ross Fisher, and Sean O'Hair start the morning bright at early, teeing off at 7:45. The final, 1:59 group includes Jhonattan Vegas, Gary Woodland, and Alvaro Quiros.
Former Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket Stewart Cink will hit the links on Thursday at the 2011 Masters. The 1995 Tech graduate joined the PGA Tour in 1997 and will be looking to break a streak of missing the cut at the Masters the past two years.
Cink's best result at the Masters was in 2008 when he tied for third with Brandt Snedeker. Trevor Immelman beat out Tiger Woods for the title. The Huntsville, Alabama native shot -4 and won $435,000. He has one other top 10 finish at Augusta in 2006, but has failed to make the cut for two consecutive years.
While Cink has compiled 13 professional wins and 6 on the PGA Tour, his career highlight definitely came on in 2009 at The Open Championship at Turnberry. He overcame a 3-shot deficit heading into Sunday and ended Tom Watson's run in a playoff to win the Claret Jug.
Cink has been a regular on the United States national team. He has played for four Presidents Cups, one WGC-World Cup, and been on the Ryder Cup team five consecutive times.
Bodog.com has Cink, the 59th ranked player in the world, as a long shot to win at 100/1 odds.
Our friends at Bodog.com have odds on the 2011 Masters Tournament up and ready, with defending champ Phil Mickelson favored to win his second-straight green jacket by 6/1 odds. Tiger Woods is close behind at 10/1, with world No. 2 Lee Westwood sitting at 14/1.
The rest of the top 10 is rounded out by Nick Watney (16/1); world No. 1 Martin Kaymer and Dustin Johnson (20/1); Luke Donald, Paul Casey, and Rory McIlroy (25/1); and Padraig Harrington, Hunter Mahan, and former Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets golfer Matt Kuchar (28/1). That's actually a top 12 if you're counting.
Former Georgia Bulldogs star Bubba Watson checks in close behind at 33/1 odds to win the tournament. Georgia Tech's Stewart Cink is a 100/1 longshot.
Mickelson's odds are much too small for practical wagering -- they'll certainly lure in plenty of oh-he-won-it-last-year bets. But the thing is, Mickelson looked very good in rallying to win last week's Shell Houston Open, his first win since the 2010 Masters. Think he can get a streak going both in this season and at this course?
Augusta National's Masters Tournament is set to give the Peach State a slightly more refined and appreciable sporting experience than even Sunday night's WrestleMania. The centerpiece of EA Sports' Tiger Woods 12, Bobby Jones' course will once again host the PGA season's first major championship. Since 1934, the tournament has grown into golf's premier event, with the awarding of its famed green jacket among the sport's most beloved traditions.
TV schedule: The 2011 Masters Tournament begins Thursday, April 7 at 8 am ET in Augusta, Georgia's Augusta National Golf Club. The Par 3 Contest begings 12:30 pm ET on April 6. ESPN, CBS, and Masters.com will handle broadcasting throughout the tournament -- if you're thinking about heading out, there's actually a lot going on all week long.
Field: A complete list of players can be found here, highlighted by tournament record-holder Tiger Woods, last year's champ Phil Mickelson, Georgia's own Bubba Watson and Matt Kuchar, sweet hat bro Rickie Fowler, and world No. 1 Martin Kaymer.
Pairings and tee times for the first two rounds will be announced April 5.
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